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Caribbean Hurricane Season OCHA Situation Report No. 21

Situation Report
Originally published


This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama and the National Hurricane Centre. This situation report covers the effects of storms and Hurricanes "Gustav" and "Ike" in the Caribbean.


- As of 1 October 2008, tropical storms and hurricanes in Haiti have affected 165,337 families, resulted in 548 injured, 793 deaths and 310 missing persons. In addition, 22,702 houses were totally destroyed and 84,625 were partially damaged.

- The Haiti Flash Appeal is only 22% funded and needs urgent support, particularly for early recovery.


1. The vulnerability in the Caribbean has significantly increased since the beginning of the hurricane season and only little rain can have a significant impact on the populations at risk. October is part of the peak portion of the hurricane season. Activity drops off only around mid or end October. Tropical Storm Marco has affected Mexico over the past days, particularly Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Campeche and Chiapas. The Government is responding to the needs of those affected.


2. According to the national meteorological centre's forecasts, from 6 to 8 October, sporadic rains are expected in the South-East, South, Nippes, Centre, Artibonite and North-East departments. As of 1 October 2008, according to an update from the Government of Haiti, tropical storms have affected 165,337 families, resulted in 548 injured, 793 deaths and 310 missing persons. In addition, 22,702 houses were totally destroyed and 84,625 were partially damaged.

3. Coordinated humanitarian relief operations are ongoing for Food, Nutrition, Shelter/Non-Food Items, WASH, Protection, Health, Logistics and Early Recovery.

4. The joint Post Disaster Needs Assessment undertaken with the World Bank, the EU, the UN system and other partners will be launched on 7 October. Once completed, the assessment will serve as the basis for an early recovery plan for the country and validated by the Government. The final report is to be presented on the 21st of October. The post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) is fundamentally based on strategic planning and assessment, stemming from a government request to the World Bank. The PDNA will assess damages and address the issue of immediate recovery needs at community levels, while determining short to long-term needs.

5. The DSRSG/RC/HC highlighted that the emergency and long term planning phases should be carried out simultaneously to breach the gap between humanitarian response and the recovery phase.


6. As of 3 October, in coordination with its implementing partners, WFP distributed 3,097 metric tons of food to 589,559 beneficiaries including 369,191 persons in Gonaives. In Passe-Catabois, North-West, WFP distributed on 5 October some 25.92 metric tons of food commodities to 3,910 people in partnership with Haitian Baptist Church. WFP also distributed 65.18 metric tons to 4,850 people in Jacmel (Southeast) in partnership with its local partner, CROSE.

7. A total of 240MT of oil, 290MT of CSB, 4,480MT of rice donated by the United States and 2,700MT of rice donated by Saudi Arabia were unloaded during last weekend. This food will be dispatched to Gonaives and other affected areas, including WFP's regular programs in Haiti. In Gonaives, WFP distributed 359.6MT of food to 60,250 people over the weekend.


8. As of 1 October, FAO has distributed 1,395 kilograms of seeds to 7,073 farmers in the Nippes, South, Center departments and La Gonaives Island. Next week, FAO will provide 3,200 additional gardeners with 640 kilograms of seeds in the North-West, North-East and West (Cabaret) departments.


9. Except for some isolated rural locations, the Health system is slowly being restored. However, while no epidemics have been reported, a sporadic increase in morbidity is observed. With the support of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Ministry of Health is currently investigating 96 possible cases of measles over the past weeks in Gonaives. According to WHO and the Ministry of Health, the measles immunization coverage rate in this region is at 104 % (given that some non-residents were vaccinated) and 78 % for children under four. However, no measles-related epidemics have been reported as of 6 October. Since 4 October, WHO has positioned a health entomologist engineer in Gonaives to support the Health Directorate.


10. The nutritional status of the population is of concern as sporadic cases of severe malnutrition in isolated locations have now added to the possible aggravation of chronic malnutrition. WHO and its partners are closely monitoring the situation. UNICEF is maintaining its support to MSF-Belgium by providing nutritional supplies to treat acute cases of malnutrition in Gonaïves. It is also supporting local health authorities in Artibonite, in coordination with WHO, through the provision of 50 boxes of oral serum and continues to support MDM France with various supplies and medicines to treat up to 10,000 persons in mobile clinics. UNICEF partners are carrying out assessments in all affected departments for malnutrion screening. UNICEF is also providing Action Contre la Faim in Gonaïves with malnutrition surveillance equipment.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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